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In a way it’s unfair to call Bombs and Good Sons false starts. Actually, in several ways it’s unfair. Both are solid albums chock full of bravado and the talent to back it up.
But what Hollus has in its latest incarnation and newest album is a broader vision, comfort in new territory and, by the sounds of it, an even bigger appetite.
It obviously has to do with cooled egos and collective focus – Jamison Acker, Michael Sauer and Matthew Perryman all attest to the ease and camaraderie that produced this batch of songs – but it also has to do with maturing and finally tapping into what made all their favorite records great: tunes.
There are still lots of guitar licks and grooves, but the superfluous stuff that pushed Good Sons into that “Ooh that’s a bit excessive range” have all been stripped away. The result is songs like opener “Horseman” and “One More Road” which essentially explain why CD players (or iPod jacks for all you fancy kids) were put in cars in the first place.
And the ability to look down new alleys – the Sauer-led title track recalls Ronnie Lane’s finer solo moments and Acker’s unabashedly romantic “Krista Lynn” show a side that Hollus has never shown before. It’s about more than just taking out an acoustic guitar once in awhile, you know. It’s about tapping into the tenderness that real feelings bring. A lot of bands that like to have their amps up to 11 all the time still have to figure that out.
Maybe it’s serendipitous that all the songs’ lyrics seem to center on the open road or growing romance. They still can stand up with their competition, but they’re not saying “fuck you” anymore. Instead, they’re saying, “Try this on for size.” And given their longstanding devotion to 1960s and 1970s ethics, maybe that’s fitting.
While Hollus still pride themselves on being able to command a stage, Acker says he prefers the record medium.
“I want to be able to create something that you can listen to thousands and thousands of times,” he said.
And now it sounds like they all want to.
“Another gone lady,” Acker sings in the blinding chorus to “Miss Daisy.” “And there’s another one waiting at the foot of her bed for you.”
Let’s hope so.

--Paul Snyder
Madison, WI - Paul Snyder

The band, who is still climbing its way through the Chicagoland music scene, has come out with their third CD, “Joker and the Queen,” offering their signature bluesy rock with a few twists thrown in.

“You could describe us as rock roots and Americana,” said Jamison Acker, the bands vocalist. “We offer all original music on this new CD which offers different vibes from a Zeppelin feel to Appalachian Folksy stuff.”

Acker said it began for him when he was nine years old, growing up in Morris. He could be found singing along with Crosby Stills and Nash, then it progressed as it does with many singers in a small town by singing with the choir, and participating in drama club at Morris Community High School.

It was the move to Chicago that brought Acker together with long time friend and guitarist Michael Sauer and they decided they were going to take the music scene by storm.


“Mike and I were long time friends and I was in another band,” said Acker. “He came to me and said ‘Let's start a band.' and we did.”

Sauer also hails from Morris as does drummer Matthew Perryman.

Bassist Colin Mulhern joined the band and they were complete, or so they thought.

Recently Katie Brandt has been lending her vocals in the background and Derek Porter has brought another guitar to the mix as well as keyboards, neither officially joining the band but Acker said both can be found sharing the stage with them often.

This band not only brings their talent to the foreground when they perform on stage but they also have behind the scenes talent - and once again recorded all their own songs.

Acker freelances in the film and television production arena when he isn't playing music and Sauer works in student services at the University of Chicago while the other members still attend college.

Acker and Sauer started learning about CD production when they decided to cut their first CD. After sending their third off to be mastered Acker feels they can produce the sound they want as well as anyone.

“We produce our CDs just like any regular recording studio,” said Acker. “Michael has been recording since he was 18, and we've got a good handle on the process.”

Acker said their latest CD has been very much like giving birth to a child, including the 9 months for it to grow from some ideas on paper to a shiny disc.

“Mike came to me with Joker and the Queen in February,” said Acker. “We sat for the next thirteen days together and wrote the rest of the tracks that can be found on the CD.”

In March they began tracking and continued until the end of July. From July until August they continued mixing and cleaned up the tracks and by August they sent it off to be mastered.

The CD is set to be released on Dec. 25 - bringing a Christmas present to fans everywhere.

Prior to the release, Hollus will be playing in Morris at the Tully Monster. They haven't played in Morris for a couple of years and are excited to bring their sound back to their roots.

“We want to show people in Morris we are still here,” said Acker. “And we want to introduce them to our new CD.”

They will also be holding a CD release party at the Cubby Bear in Chicago on December 26.

To hear samples from the new CD you can log on to their myspace at www.myspace.com/hollusmusic .

- Morris Daily Hearld


Bombs (2006) download on Jamendo.com
Good Sons (2007) download on Jamendo.com
Joker And The Queen (2008) Streams on ilike.com and reverbnation.com



Hollus is the product of guitar player and lead songwriter Michael Lux-Sauer, who started the group as a solo project under the same name in 2001. After spending more than a year in the studio recording, "The Farce," a record which would never be released, Lux-Sauer decided to scrap the project, and began writing songs for something undoubtedly grandeur. The goal of the new Hollus was created out of Lux-Sauer's self-serving longing and need to smash the apathy and mediocrity of what was being heard in the rock scene at the time. Something not just based in rock music, but something that gave you all the feelings that no modern rock group had been giving him. Music of raw power and artistic exitement that could be given to the people for exactly that.

He called on childhood friend and collaborator Jamison Acker to sing a few songs he had written. Acker's howling, reminiscent of greats like Steve Marriott and Paul Rodgers, shook Lux's vision into shape, and by adding the loose-cannon Kenny Jones-esque drumming of Matthew "Bones" Perryman, and the lightning lead bass playing of Sean Blythe, the four old friends had everything they needed.

The group began quickly it's first rehearsal, with the members learning and collaborating on four original punk-infused blues tunes that would set the bar for everything else Hollus would write, as well as showing an instant subconscious bond between the group. It became very apparant that this was not Lux's group, but a completely focused unit of musicians working together.

It was clear by the time that Hollus went into the recording studio six months after their birth, that their fusion of 60's psychedelia, raw rock n roll, sweet blues and glitter glam, reminescent of groups as diverse as The Small Faces to The Stooges, had become something not just transcendent, but something momentus. This moment was "Bombs,"(2006) which has become somewhat of an underground hit, being talked about in numerous blogs and gaining radio attention in Europe. "Good Sons," released a year later, amped up production value and songwriting ability. It contained more of a hazy-glam feel, and began to show them growing in ambition, as they contained gospel singers, sitars, trumpets, and fifes on the same rock record. Though it was recorded three separate times, the group settled on recording it themselves in the same abandoned mattress factory they did "Bombs" in and the dead/alive up-all-night raw energy that surrounds the sessions is placed fantastically throughout every moment in "Good Sons."

One of the most impressive and engaging attributes Hollus has, may actually be their age. When the group started in 2005, their ages ranged from 19 to 22, and now, playing together for four years, the group has grown in talent and diversity with it's age. The crowds of people that have come to see Hollus at Chicago landmarks like The Double Door, The Abbey, and The Cubby Bear many times consist of a large amount of people over the age of 30, who frequently find the band afterwards and demand records, and want to tell stories of the past, while the younger crowd piles to the front, dancing and grooving to the flurry of raw power and psychedelic overtone.

After taking a hiatus in 2007 due to losing bass player Sean Blythe, Acker, Sauer-Lux and Perryman reunited in January 2008 to begin working on new songs. They enlisted Steepwater Band bass player Tod Bowers to fill the low end on the sessions, while SWB guitarist Jeff Massey lends his fingers to two songs. In a few months time, Hollus had completed recording what would be their most diverse and concise record yet, "Joker and the Queen." After venturing to Nashville, Lux came home with enlightened appreciation for old country music, and the Parsons/Band tinge on tracks like "Honest Man," and the title track reflect that, as well as the same atom-bomb power of tracks like "It Won't Stick," and "Miss Daisy." The record was released on Christmas 2008 and has already garnered acclaim and air play on Chicago's WXRT.

Now with the addition of full time bass player Colin Mulhern, and live players Derek Porter (guitars, keyboards) and Katie Brandt, (backing vocals, percussion) Hollus is truly a live powerhouse, and with a great back catalogue and a fantastic new record, they are set to make a lot of noise in the rock world.